This nutty election cycle just added a few more Goobers. State elections officials on Thursday advised Town Clerk Alma Maya because she did not receive a complete schedule of supervised balloting locations from Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala, Maya must mail all of those requests to absentee ballot applicants that were set aside. As a result, roughly 700 absentee ballots were mailed on Thursday bringing a total of more than 3,000 mailed absentee ballots citywide. How many will come back to the office? That depends on the efforts of campaign operatives to beseech their peeps.
Confused? Welcome to the club. Less than a week from the Democratic primary for mayor, driving absentee ballot requests, a premium is placed on making sure electors have the opportunity to vote.
Ayala on Wednesday had emailed the campaign camps of Bill Finch, Joe Ganim and Mary-Jane Foster of scheduled supervision of absentee ballots for electors who claimed they could not make it to the polls for Wednesday’s primary. That transmittal apparently did not reach Maya’s office. As a result, lawyers for the city and the state huddled Thursday afternoon to determine that voters are not stuck in the crossfire of perceived disenfranchisement.
What is supervised balloting?
State law provides local registrars with the authority to conduct supervised balloting when 20 absentee ballot applications come from a particular address. It helps to provide a check against campaign operatives trying to manipulate votes by absentee. It also provides an option for electors who filled out an absentee ballot application to vote at their desired designated precinct.
Any voter at the designated address who signed an absentee application and wants to vote by absentee ballot can do so that day under the supervision of elections officials.
Connecticut is one of a handful of states with excuse-only absentee ballot voting. Away for work? You vote by absentee ballot. Health issues? You vote by absentee ballot. There’s no early voting in Connecticut.
Two days ago, Finch’s Campaign Manager Maryli Secrest filed a complaint with the State Elections Enforcement Commission and Office of the Connecticut Secretary of the State regarding “the disenfranchise of electors who have requested an absentee ballot and will be prevented from voting by this process.”
One specific area where Finch’s political operation has strength is P.T. Barnum Apartments where so far about 75 absentee ballots have been requested, according to the Town Clerk’s Office. The housing complex, according to a schedule released by Ayala, is slated for supervised balloting Friday afternoon.
So now we could see a collision course between supervised balloting, absentee ballots mailed and how they intersect on primary day. Someone will be required to sort it all out.
Otherwise, this process will be lawyered up north, south, east and west, all over the city.